Stranded IDPs Resettled, Kitale, Kenya

NAIROBI, May 6, 2011 (CISA)-
A Church official in the Catholic Diocese of Kitale,  close to the Kenya/Uganda border,  has confirmed to CISA that the recently stranded 255 internally displaced persons (IDPs) families in Kitale Town have finally been resettled on a Government-purchased land  at Chepchoina,  thirty kilometers from the town.
In a telephone interview with CISA on May 5, the Director of Justice and Peace Commission, Kitale Diocese, Mr. Leonard Barasa said, “at least I  can confirm that  the stranded IDPs families have  finally been resettled at another farm, the Government has purchased for this purpose.”
The local community, led by some of their leaders had opposed the resettlement.
Initially, the stranded IDP families would have been resettled at a Government land at Endebes, but there was a strong opposition of the move by the local community, led by their leaders, including a Cabinet minister.
“As I talk to you, Government officials, through the Office of the District Commissioner, are busy resettling these IDP families. Each will be allocated two and quarter acres of land.” Mr. Barasa further told CISA.
He added that as soon as the families are settled, his office, the Justice and Peace Commission, will move in and undertake civic education on peacekeeping and reconciliation to both parties, the local community and the in-coming IDP families.
“This, we feel is very central for the two parties”   explained Mr. Barasa.
“Our concern is that if this is not done there is a possibility of ethnic clash resurfacing, hence the Church’s strong feeling that the two parties are fully prepared to live harmoniously”, he added.
“With the country’s next general elections scheduled for next year, 2012, the Church strongly feels that she should effectively preach on peace-keeping and reconciliation to communities in volatile areas.” he added.
The genesis of the current IDP crisis was the 2008 Post Elections Violence after the country’s 2007 controversial General Elections that led to the formation of a coalition Government.
An estimated half a million people were internally displaced, over 1,000 killed and properties worth millions of Kenyan shillings destroyed.
Meanwhile an official from the Ministry of Special Programmes confirmed to CISA that the 255 IDP families have been resettled.
“As per the Government arrangement, each of the legitimate IDP family will be allocated a piece of land and put up a two-roomed house for each family,” explained the Government officer
He welcomed the Catholic Church’s move to educate the local community and the in-coming IDP families on peacekeeping and reconciliation.
“Our appeal would be that whatever they plan to do, they should ensure that the Government is involved. Otherwise we appreciate the Church involvement in matters pertaining to IDPs,” he added
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